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Downer extends backing of NRL’s Auckland Nines

Engineering and infrastructure group Downer has extended a title sponsorship agreement with the Australian National Rugby League’s Auckland Nines event in New Zealand.

The agreement will cover the 2017 and 2018 editions of the pre-season tournament. Downer struck the agreement with tournament organiser Duco Events. The tournament will continue to be officially titled the Downer NRL Auckland Nines.

This year’s event, which marked Downer’s first as title sponsor, took place at Eden Park in Auckland from February 6-7. Downer replaced electronics retailer Dick Smith as the event's naming rights partner.

Brett O'Riley, chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events Economic Development, which invests in the Nines on behalf of Auckland Council, said: “It is fitting that such a popular, home-grown event will have a naming sponsor that is part of the fabric of Auckland and the region's changing form – a company which is a major local employer and one of Auckland’s Youth Employment Pledge partners.”

The Parramatta Eels won this year’s tournament, although the team was stripped of its title in May after having been found guilty of breaching NRL salary cap rules.